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Likejacking

Definition

Likejacking is a type of cybercrime which takes place on social media networks, specifically, Facebook. It involves tricking users into clicking a hidden ‘Like’ button by overlaying it with enticing content. Once clicked, the ‘Like’ can spread malicious content or promote a product or page through the user’s network, without their awareness or consent.

Phonetic

The phonetic pronunciation of the keyword “Likejacking” would be: “lahyk-jak-ing”

Key Takeaways

  1. Deceives Users: Likejacking is a manipulative technique that deceives users into unknowingly liking or sharing content on social media. It draws them into engagement without their awareness or consent, thereby violating their privacy settings and user experience.
  2. Spread of Malware and Scams: Through likejacking, hackers or cybercriminals can spread malware, scams or fraudulent activity. When a user clicks on the hidden ‘Like’ button, they unknowingly download or install the malware or help propagate spamming or phishing attempts.
  3. Manipulation of Social Advertising: As Likejacking boosts the ‘Like’ counts of certain contents or posts, it manipulates social advertising. It provides an unreliable picture of consumer interest or engagement, skewing marketing analysis, insights, and strategies.

Importance

Likejacking is an important term in technology as it relates to a deceitful tactic used primarily on social media platforms like Facebook. Its significance comes from its potential to cause harm through the manipulation of a user’s interaction with a social media site. In a Likejacking scenario, an attacker hides a “Like” button beneath an enticing clickable element such as a link to a viral video or an online quiz. When users interact with this seemingly harmless element, they unknowingly “Like” a page or post. This action can then be exploited for numerous purposes, such as spreading malware, driving web traffic to certain sites, bolstering the perceived popularity of a page or post, or marketing products based on the user’s unintentional endorsement. Thus, the prominence of Likejacking underlines the importance of cybersecurity and user awareness in today’s digital landscape.

Explanation

Likejacking is a technique used primarily within social media platforms, which aims to manipulate or deceive users into granting permission or endorsing specific content without their full knowledge or intention. The purpose behind this is two-fold. Firstly, it supports the underlying objective of certain individuals or businesses to drastically increase their visibility and reach. As social media revolves around interactions, more ‘likes’ mean more widespread content; thus, enhancing the actors’ influence or popularity. Secondly, likejacking can also serve a more nefarious purpose, such as tricking users into downloading malware or forwarding spam, as clicking the ‘like’ button may trigger unwanted downloads or share misleading information.The premise of likejacking depends on a form of social engineering, where the user is presented with enticing content, like an interesting article headline or a promising offer, coupled with a ‘like’ button. By clicking on the ‘like’ button, users unknowingly authorize actions, which go beyond their initial understanding, such as sharing the deceiving content with their friends, following a page, or downloading an app. Therefore, this practice is used as a manipulative tool and is considered unethical, as it exploits users’ trust, manipulates their actions, and potentially jeopardizes their online security.

Examples

Likejacking is a malicious technique used by hackers on social media platforms, especially on Facebook, disguising a ‘Like’ button to trap users into revealing their personal information, downloading malware, or spreading spam.1. In 2010, a famous likejacking example involved a post claiming to have the exclusive footage of an airplane crashing into the Hudson river. Once Facebook users clicked on the ‘Like’ button, they unintentionally shared the link with their friends, spreading the scam further.2. There was a scam called “Justin Bieber trying to flirt” on Facebook in 2011. This post piqued the curiosity of a lot of users who, upon clicking, were just propagating spam unwittingly by ‘liking’ an unseen button.3. In another instance, an attractive offer such as winning an iPhone could be touted. In this scam from 2012, users who clicked on the ‘Like’ button to participate in the contest were actually falling into the likejacking trap, leading to the spreading of this scam to their contacts on Facebook.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

**Q1: What is Likejacking?**A1: Likejacking is a malicious technique used by cybercriminals on social media platforms, most commonly Facebook, where they trick users into accidentally liking a page or post by hiding the ‘Like’ button behind seemingly benign clickable content.**Q2: How does Likejacking work?**A2: It works via a method called “clickjacking.” The like button is hidden behind some other clickable content, so when a user clicks on what they think is harmless content, they unintentionally ‘like’ the hidden content or page.**Q3: What types of content are typically used in Likejacking?**A3: Cybercriminals often use sensational headlines, appealing images, or popularly trending topics to lure people into clicking their hidden like button. The content can range from purported celebrity news to free giveaways and everything in between.**Q4: What are the potential dangers or outcomes of Likejacking?**A4: Once a page receives many likes due to Likejacking, it may appear reputable, and authentic users may engage with it. This allows the attacker to deliver malicious scripts to the users, phishing attacks, spam their newsfeed, or even lead users to websites filled with advertising.**Q5: How can I protect myself from Likejacking?**A5: Be cautious about what you click on, especially if it seems too good or scandalous to be true. Keep your web browser and security software up-to-date with the latest patches and updates. Certain browser extensions or settings can also prevent clickjacking attacks.**Q6: If I’ve fallen victim to Likejacking, what should I do?**A6: If you’ve unknowingly liked a page or post through Likejacking, the best course of action is to unlike the page or post, report it to the platform, and ensure you have the latest security updates on your device. Regularly check your liked pages and posts to ensure they are all familiar to you. **Q7: Is Likejacking illegal?**A7: While Likejacking is generally seen as unethical, its legality can vary by country and jurisdiction. It often falls into a legal grey area, although some jurisdictions may categorize it under cybercrime laws, specifically codes related to fraud and deception.

Related Tech Terms

  • Clickjacking
  • Social Engineering
  • Malware
  • Facebook Scams
  • Cybersecurity

Sources for More Information

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